Terrific news from New Hampshire where the state House of Representatives overwhelmingly rejected an effort to reverse marriage equality on Wednesday.
The proposal to repeal the law that made gay marriages legal in the state failed by a vote of 116 to 211 in the Republican-controlled House. A total of 119 Republicans voted against repealing current law while 115 voted for repeal. Democrats voted against repealing marriage equality by a vote of 92 to 1.
New Hampshire had approved civil unions in 2007 and same-sex marriage in 2009 when both houses in the state legislature were controlled by the Democrats. However, Republicans now control both houses of the legislature and with majorities capable of overriding any veto by Democratic Governor John Lynch.
The proposal under consideration this week would have replaced same-sex marriages with civil unions starting in 2013 (although marriages that took place before the repeal would have remained valid). Close to 2,000 gay and lesbian couples have been married in New Hampshire since the current law went into effect at the beginning of 2010.
Representative David Bates, a Republican, was the proposal’s main sponsor and has vowed to continue his efforts to repeal marriage equality should the Republicans win the Governorship this year. Another backer of Bates’ proposal was the National Organization for Marriage, which vowed to “hold legislators accountable” after the vote.
With the defeat of the repeal attempt, New Hampshire remains one of six U.S. states plus the District of Columbia where same-sex marriage is legal. The others are Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont. Washington state and Maryland have approved gay marriage, but their laws have not yet gone into effect.
New Hampshire lawmakers also defeated another bill on Wednesday. It would have outlawed marriage between two left-handed people and was introduced to make an obvious point. Let’s be grateful that New Hampshire lawmakers got that point 🙂
An incredibly powerful editorial endorsing the decision appeared in the Concord Monitor today. I encourage you to take a look.